Earlier in 2022, Welch was one of a host of largely female artists to complain about label pressures to post on TikTok, captioning a post: “The label are begging me for ‘low fi tik toks’ so here you go. pls send help.”
Others to complain included FKA twigs, who said she got “told off today for not making enough effort” and then deleted her TikTok account. Charli XCX and Self Esteem also joined the conversation, while Halsey said that their label “won’t let me” release a new song unless it “has a viral moment on TikTok”.
In a new interview with The New Yorker as part of an investigation on TikTok’s impact on the music industry, Welch said she has warmed to TikTok and its “anarchic” audience across the year.
Beginning by saying she “actively [doesn’t] want to go viral,” Welch added: “Anytime anything of mine has gone remotely viral, it’s filled me with dread. Any kind of attention that is not directly related to the work or an album, I don’t want it.” She also argued, “My fans, the people who follow me, are not going to believe that I just suddenly decided to do TikTok.”
Revealing that she eventually gave in and posted the required videos, she added: “I was just, like, I am about to go into another meeting about this launch, and they are going to fucking ask me why haven’t I done something.”
After a TikTok of her singing the song ‘My Love’ went viral, Welch said that she found the process to be “anarchic and hilarious and weird in a way that I really enjoyed.”
She went on: “I feel like it’s a platform on which you can be stranger. Like, if I just want to drink fake blood in a graveyard, TikTok is an environment that would embrace that.”
Earlier this year, Rebecca Lucy Taylor, aka Self Esteem, penned an essay about the pressure she believes female artists face to provide TikTok content.
Writing in The Guardian, Taylor said: “I think it’s no coincidence that the recent examples of artists who say their labels have forced them to get on TikTok are all women.
“My pub-psychologist theory is that the music industry thinks of social media as an inherently female thing – it’s just another patriarchal idea that women and gay men are interested in the minutiae of other women, while men are just too busy and important to be interested in that stuff.”
She added: “There is something darker and more invasive in the way that women are encouraged to use it. It only furthers the nagging feeling that as a female artist your music and art aren’t taken as seriously.”
The band were forced to cut short their run of 2022 gigs last month after Welch broke her foot on-stage during a performance at The O2 in London.